Israel today began building its first new settlement in the occupied West Bank since 1992. It will be inhabited by 200-300 Jewish settlers from the unofficial Amona settlement, which was evacuated in February.
Israel’s Channel 7 reported that Interior Minister Aryeh Deri has informed those responsible for the Amona settlement that all legal measures have been completed and that construction of the settlement, which will be called Amichai, will begin in occupied Nablus. The Israeli government agreed on 3 September to allocate $16 million for its construction.
Haaretz said on 11 July that evidence and expert opinions shows that parts of the new settlement will be built on private Palestinian property. According to the newspaper, Palestinians filed a complaint to the Israeli Supreme Court against the new settlement being built on 14 acres of their land. Evidence provided by experts, in the form of satellite pictures, showed that the land was owned by Palestinians, who had been farming it between 1997 and 2002. The Palestinians presented papers from the time of the Ottoman Empire proving their ownership. The Israeli court has not yet responded to the complaint.
This will be the first new settlement built on government orders since 1992. The Israeli authorities have been extending existing settlements across the occupied West Bank and occupied Jerusalem for many years. All of Israel’s settlements are regarded as illegal under international law.